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My name is Babs, I am a 42-year-old woman, now disabled. At one point in my life, I thought I had the world in the palm of my hands. I had a wonderful legal career, a job that I knew the Lord had blessed me with. I was very active in our local church: I was vice-president of the Women's Guild; I was the author, editor, and publisher of the Guild's handbook during my vice-precidency; a "reporter" for the monthly church newsletter concerning the Guild's activities; I was "happy" in serving the Lord this way.

My world came to an almost screeching halt, since the symptoms came on gradually, but became worse in time. The depression I had always suffered with became worse - although I had no reason to be depressed! I started to develop strange symptoms, such as tremendous pain in my lower back and hips, as well as pain in other parts of my body, which made absolutely no sense to me. I visited doctor after doctor, only to be told the words I had heard time and time again, from each and every one: "It's all in your head; all the tests are normal. I would like you to see this psychiatrist..." After years of enduring some of the many symptoms, some of us begin to really wonder if these doctors are correct in their diagnosis: "Is it really all in my head? Am I a hypochondriac?" After all, we can look in the mirror and see ourselves as others see us - we look GREAT! How could there be anything wrong when you don't even LOOK sick?

Finally the day came when the real diagnosis was made. It had only taken about five years! And I know in my heart that the Lord was responsible for my finally being diagnosed! My mother had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), which I, myself, had never even heard of. She started to tell her doctor about my symptoms; he diagnosed my illness immediately. I, too, had fibromyalgia! This doctor gave my mother a pamphlet, which is available through the Arthritis Foundation (Please see Links for FM, CFS and Other Information to order this publication). After looking at this pamphlet, I was totally dumb-founded, since all of my symptoms were listed right there on paper, in black and white!! Praise the Lord! I finally had a real diagnosis, and my own doctor confirmed it! Unfortunately, at this time, there are no bona fide clinical tests to confirm the presence of FMS. There are, however, many, many clinical tests to rule out what you DON'T have! Most tests show "normal"; hence, the referral to the psychiatrists.

This condition is unlike any other. Fibromyalgia consists of a wide variety of many debilitating "symptoms" - one of these is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Chronic Fatigue Immune Difficiency Syndrome (CFIDS), which is an overwhelming fatigue - try to imagine being hit by a BIG truck every single day of your life, with no relief at all! Other symptoms include widespread pain, which can be aching, burning, stabbing, shooting and/or throbbing. Try to remember the last time that you had a terrible case of the flu; every part of your body hurt. However, with the flu, there is relief in sight; not true with FMS and/or CFS. Other ailments can include non-restorative sleep (sleep disorder), morning stiffness, the feeling (though no presence) of swollen extremities, numbness and tingling sensations, muscle twitching, skin sensitivities, dry eyes and mouth, frequent infections, memory loss, "brain-fog" or what we who experience it call "fibro-fog", irritable bladder, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or spastic colon, chronic headaches, dizziness, impaired coordination, and tempromandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ). These are just some of the symptoms. Depression can be included in this list, since it rears its ugly head due in part to the fact that you are unable to live the life you previously lived, nobody believes that you're ill, as well as the never-ending pain.

It has only been recently that some of the general public, as well as some of our doctors, have begun to believe that there really IS something wrong, that these "symptoms" are not just "wastebasket illnesses," and finally leading to a real, honest-to-goodness diagnosis that it's NOT "all in your head." Unfortunately, there are more and more people becoming totally and completely disabled! There is really no way of knowing how many people suffer with this illness, since some doctors still refuse to acknowledge its presence, but knowledgeable doctors are estimating it is between 3 and 7 million people (men and women) who are suffering! However, we must thank the Good Lord for leading these good doctors and people to see the real truth; without God's help and guidance, some of us would not be alive, simply because of the depression of the pain, and the fact that nobody believes that we are seriously ill!

One day though, my brother was in the library, and God was THERE! The Lord showed my brother a book, From Fatigue to Fantastic!, written by Joseph Teitelbaum, M.D. This man has been through this nightmare and has researched all aspects of the disease. His book is written for the layperson, people like us who do not understand all of the medical jargon. Dr. Teitelbaum explains what these disorders are, what the symptoms are, where they may come from, and how you can ELIMINATE them! He also gives information regarding the various tests that are normally overlooked, as well as information regarding diet, food allergies, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, parasitic infections, and much more information about tests and symptoms that are all new to me! The up side about this is that there is HOPE; the down side is that it will cost an awful lot of money and a very sympathetic doctor to help you through all of these tests. If you are having any of these symptoms, this is an excellent book to read. It is also an excellent source of information to prove to your loved ones and those who don't believe that you are truly suffering, since it is all documented by explaining what you are going through. This book even includes a section that you can show your doctor which tests to perform, what to look for, and the recommended treatment!

<>< <>< UPDATED & OVERHAULED 04/07/2000! ><> ><>

If you have been to this web site before, you will know all the trouble I went through in order to be approved for Social Security Disability. It took forever and a day, and I saw doctor after doctor. I was turned down once because "they" believed that I would still be able to work!!!! I would like them to show me just what I would be capable of doing - after all, I run into walls because my balance is off, I am now seeing double, I can type for only short periods of time, I am SCARED TO DEATH to leave the house (I've become agoraphobic), and I just don't have the strength to "fix myself up" everyday to look presentable enough to look professional! With obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), everything has to be perfect before I can leave the house: I have to check and re-check everything over and over, plus I'm completely worn out by then! "They" just don't understand what this "disease" does to us. I would like them to just try to walk (which I am unable to do for any distance at all!) a mile in my shoes for just ONE DAY!!!! They would fall to the ground screaming, and begging for mercy, don't you think? If you agree with me, please let me know. I would like to know what everybody else thinks about this, just so I don't believe that I'm out of line thinking this way. Please leave your comments in my guest book. If you like, you have the option of keeping your message private.

Even though I had been told, "Everybody gets turned down the first time for Social Security disability," it was still very hard for me, since all THREE of THEIR doctors told me to my face that I was certainly in NO CONDITION TO WORK!!!! What is going on here? I just don't get it! Do you? Let me know in my guest book, please!

Anyway, Praise the Lord, Social Security finally approved my disability after a couple of years of stringing it out. It certainly didn't do my health or well-being any good having to wait and wonder if they would ever approve me - and if not, what was I to do? However, after my husband lost his job, and was on his very last week of unemployment benefits, I finally received 2 years worth of back pay, and started getting a regular check every month! I firmly believe that the Lord never closes a door without opening a window!

The Lord has blessed me over and over - even though I've got all of these "ailments." He has a plan, and it is not mine to question (even if I do sometimes!) Thank you to all of my FMS/CFS/ME and other friends for your prayers. God bless all of you!

<>< <>< Some History of My Meds, Moods, ><> ><>

Thoughts & Advice, Etc.!!!!!!

Before I forget ("fibro-fog"), should you be fortunate enough to get Social Security Disability, make sure that you get some kind of Medicare supplemental insurance before 6 months have passed from the date of your approval. The good part about Medicare and the supplemental insurance is that you can see all kinds of doctors and have all kinds of tests run; the bad part is, if they give you a prescription, how in the world are we to pay for it - even with a prescription plan that discounts these drugs? I had a very bad episode in the early part of 1999, wherein I lost around 40 pounds in about 3 weeks!!!! I ended up weighing 92 pounds! Talk about scary! I went to the doctors, the specialists, had tests run on me, and here it is, an entire year later, my stomach is still hurting and I've not gained much weight back. At first, my stomach felt as though I had been eating broken glass; the doctor put me on Prilosec, but it was so expensive, I wasn't able to afford to stay on it! Eventually, the broken glass feeling eased off, but I still feel as though I've been kicked in the stomach. The doctors still have no idea what is wrong!!!! I have been subjected to an upper GI, a small bowel series, and a CT scan, among other things - and still nothing to show for it!

In the meantime, I changed my antidepressants. I had been on Zoloft for years, and it just wasn't doing any good. I tried a few other antidepressants, even Prosac. However, it did nothing to help my depression. However, I am now taking Effexor XR (37.5 mg. to start with) and I am working my way up to 75 mg. a day. It seems that all I did was sleep when I was taking the full dosage; my solution to this was to take one pill (37.5 mg.) every other day until I was able to tolerate it. Now, I am taking one pill one day, two pills the next day. My mood seems to be somewhat better. And, I have been able to go shopping with my brother about 4 times this past year. I had a wonderful time, even though I was in bed for days afterwards from all the shopping!!! At least it's a step in the right direction. I am hoping and praying to be able to find some kind of fibromyalgia clinic so I can somehow get better. However, I know this is God's will, and though I still get depressed about it, I trust Him to show me what to do. Oh - just before Christmas (1999), I tripped over my room-mate's dog and ended up breaking my right arm in 3 places! I thought I had done pretty good making it to 42 years old without a broken bone! So, if there are any typos in this page, please forgive me, since I still have my cast on. Would you believe they have them made out of fiberglass and they are in such beautiful colors! The first cast I had on was green (My favorite color, and also for the Christmas holidays!). When I was to get the cast removed, my arm had not healed enough yet, so the doctor put another cast on me, but this time I picked out a pretty royal blue! The doctor even commented on my color coordination!!!! I guess I've still not quite got a handle on the obsessive-compulsive disorder...

Another thought - if you need some money coming in while waiting for Social Security to approve you, please sign up for "AllAdvantage" which is the icon located at the top of this page. Just surfing the web for 25 hours a month, I receive about $12.00 a month. However, by signing up people under me, and you signing up people under you, we could be making some money... So please sign up?????

<>< <>< UPDATED AGAIN ON 05/14/2000!!!!!!!!! ><> ><>

After a combination of events have taken place in my life lately, one of which being my wonderful step-father passing away, my realizing that life is just too, too short to live in misery (which I've been doing in my marriage), and my being on my new anti-depressants, I finally had the courage to stand up to my husband and tell him that I am leaving! This marriage has been a very big drain on me, and the stress is just too much for me if I expect to try to get any better. So, as of June 1, 2000, I will be moving!!!!! I am very proud of myself, since this is a giant leap of faith! In my 42 years of life, I have been "on my own" about a total of two years (6 months here, 3 months there, etc.) and I feel it is time for me to devote my time and energy (what little energy I do have!) to working on recovering. I have made great strides, in that I have been able to leave the house more often without having the enormous panic attacks. At least it's a start! So please be praying for me while I take this step forward. I will update my page after I have settled in to my new place and let you know how it goes!

I pray that this page has been of some help to you. I am very, very sorry for not being able to respond to all the people who have written to me this past year, but as I've explained, I've been pretty much in bed, without any interest in much of anything. Please forgive me! I will try to update this more than once a year!!! Please keep on believing that the Lord has a purpose for all of us, though I have had my doubts this past year - a test, perhaps? However, I guess my work begun here is not yet finished....

God bless all of you and keep you safe and in His loving arms. I send feather-fibro-hugs to all of you. Thank you for stopping by, and please sign my guest book, just to let me know you've been here!!!!

Thank you all who have been praying. I really needed it! I pray that some day the Lord will have a "cure" for our ailments. Until then, keep up the faith, even though it is so hard to do sometimes (speaking from my embarrassed experience).

Much love, many thanks and {{{{{fibro-hugs}}}}} to all,

Babs aka lovelady aka txlovelady

Biblical Reasons NOT To Give Up!

These troubles and sufferings of ours are, after all, quite small and won't last very long. Yet this short time of distress will result in God's richest blessing upon us forever and ever! . . . I was given a physical condition which has been a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to hurt and bother me, and prick my pride. Three different times I begged God to make me well again. Each time He said, "No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people." Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ's power. Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite happy about "the thorn," and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong - the less I have, the more I depend on Him.

2 Cor. 4:17; 12:7 - 10 (TLB)

MY FIRST AND SECOND AWARDS!!! Thank you to The Bread Of Life Church Of The Web. I would like to thank, with all my heart, The Bread of Life Church Of The Web, for these wonderful and precious awards! I pray that you will go to this link, and be blessed by all the many, many wonderful links. There is even a wonderful Prayer Chapel! Thank you, dear, dear Rev. Margaret (Lady Love)!! Many thanks also to Lady Love for the beautiful graphic designs on this page! You can see her wonderful display of free graphics at Lady Love's Christian Graphics.

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<>< <>< UPDATED 06/18/99!!!!!!!!! ><> ><>

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